Motivation refers to the internal and external factors that encourage an employee to perform assigned tasks or achieve set goals and objectives (Robbins & Jugde, 2015). Both the conscious and the unconscious factors interact to form motivation. Such factors include need intensity, goal reward value, employee expectations, as well as those of their colleagues.
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Complexity of motivation
Motivation is a complex concept in organizational leadership. The complexity is in the sense that most leaders are not aware of the factors that contribute to employee motivation, and tend to assume that employees are motivated by salary. On the contrary, employees are motivated by several factors other than salary, forming both the intrinsic and extrinsic rewards. It is therefore, a challenge for the leaders to know exactly what motivates the employees.
Some may be motivated by intrinsic factors such as promotion and transfers, and recognition or praise for outstanding performance, while others get motivation from extrinsic rewards, such as salary increase, company cars, shopping vouchers, training and development opportunities (Robbins & Jugde, 2015). A leader may organize employees into teams as a way of motivating them. In addition, accountability, the sense of belonging, and competition can bring motivation. However, some employees want to be accountable for their own work. Such employees claim that individual work leads to motivation better than group work because it helps them climb the organizational ladder.
Model positioning is a concept that provides a guide for the identification of business strategies. Such concept is credible, physically attractive, similar to an observer, and helps overcome organizational challenges (Buckingham, 2007). The concept helps an organization in planning how it can rise above its competitors and at the same time, satisfies customer needs.
A feedback control is a common powerful system that considers output, which facilitates an adjustment of performance to achieve the set output. The measurement of the variable to be controlled is compared with the target value. Such measurement is called feedback signal and uses the close-loop system. An organization can implement model positioning since it uses the open loop system concept as its guide. The closed loop system works by finding out the difference between output and the desired input to establish an error signal.
Role of leadership in motivation
The responsibility of employee motivation lies with the leaders. They should find all the ways in which each employee feels motivated. The leader should know the level of needs for each employee (Environment, 2015). The levels are determined by the need that motivates an employee to engage into the performance of a certain job or task. For instance, some employees want to satisfy their basic needs while others are at self-actualization. As such, the two different employees will not be motivated by the same factors. It is thus the role of the leader to find different methods towards the achievement of the organizational goals.
Goal setting is an example of a method that a leader can use to motivate the employees. Aligning the organizational goals with the employees’ goals highly motivates them. The leader should thus ensure there is communication that enables the aligning of organizational goals in line with goals of the employees. This planning gives employees a clarification on what the leader expects from them. Lack of such goals reduces the efficiency of work leading to frustration of both the leader and the employee.
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Again, a mismatch of the goals causes failure and disappointment hence reducing the motivation of employees (Robbins & Jugde, 2015). The leaders should also try to influence the thoughts and perceptions of employees by controlling information during social interaction sessions. Such can be done through impression management, which is a goal-oriented process either conscious or sub-conscious.
Encouraging employees either as individuals or as teams can also motivate them. Leaders who possess great emotional, physical, and spiritual energy offer such encouragement. Such leaders encourage the employees to climb the management ladder by creating strong and supportive relationships with them.
Job redesign is the process through which duties and responsibilities of a job are reviewed. The process may lead to re-allocation of some jobs among the staff members to improve both job satisfaction and productivity. Methods of job redesign take into consideration the rotation, enlargement, as well as the enrichment of job. Such methods are used to motivate employees since the employees have an opportunity to learn various job skills (Buckingham, 2007). An organization willing to redesign a job to motivate employees may use the following steps.
Clarity is needed on the current job, its job description, and any challenges in doing the work. Employee skills are then determined as well as how well they fit in the current job position. Tasks are then re-allocated to ensure a fit between job specification, employee skills, and interests. Training is then provided to equip the employees with the assigned task’s skills. Provision of a new job description follows in the implementation program for the employee to fit the newly assigned responsibilities. The organization should then ensure regular visits to ensure that skills match the redefined positions.
Among the theories of motivation, Abraham Maslow’s hierarchy of needs explains various needs that motivate employees (Robbins & Jugde, 2015). He defines needs as any type of insufficiency, in terms of psychology or physiology that an employee feels the desire to accomplish. The need thus influences an employee’s attitude and behavior at work. According to him, all the needs that have not been satisfied have an impact on the behaviors of employees while the already fulfilled ones have no effect on employee motivation. The order thus means that a higher need is only satisfied after a lower need is satisfied.
An organization should aim at establishing the different levels of employees in the hierarchy. This information enables it to offer different activities and tasks that will help employees satisfy needs at their levels. The needs are divided into lower level needs and higher level needs. The lower level needs include psychological, safety, and social needs. For instance, an employee working to satisfy the psychological needs should be offered breaks and refreshments, manageable working hours, and comfort while in the workplace.
Employees working to fulfill their safety needs should be offered job security, a safe working environment, basic benefits and compensation (Robbins & Jugde, 2015). Any given organization should ensure friendly working environment including affable co-workers and supervisors and an opportunity to interact with customers should be offered to those wishing to satisfy social needs. On the other hand, higher level needs include esteem needs, participation in decision-making, and self-actualization.
Those employees working to satisfy their self-actualization needs can best handle creative and difficult tasks. The organization should also try to involve those employees working for participation in decision-making more responsible and autonomous jobs. Leaders who praise their employees, offer them promotions, and are responsible for critical jobs help employees satisfy their self-esteem needs.
From the above discussion, motivation is a fundamental concept in an organization. As such, an organization should focus on looking for different ways that motivate its employees considering that motivated employees have the desire and willingness to improve their performance. This performance improves productivity increasing the organization’s competitive advantage.
Buckingham, M. (2007). Go put your strengths to work. New York: Free Press.
Environment, C. (2015). Creating a motivating work environment from the Course Stepping Up to Leadership. lynda.com.
Robbins, S. P., & Jugde, T. A. (2015). Organizational Behavior. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice Hall.